Graphik: Bulletpoint Abstracts issue 4/2018 (English)

Anja Eder/ Markus Hadler/ Markus Schweighart: On the Apparent Paradox of Belonging to the Middle Strata of Society. A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Austrians’ Subjective Social Position from 1993 to 2016

Survey data, for the period 1993 to 2016, show that the vast majority of the Austrians consider themselves as belonging to the upper half of society and that this self-assessment has become more prevalent over time. Contradicting this trend, income and wealth inequality have grown, and the real incomes of some population groups as well as the chances to reach a higher position through education have decreased. Drawing upon classical theories of stratification and concepts of social comparison, the article analyzes the determinants of the Austrians’ subjective social position. The analysis is based on representative survey data from the Social Survey Austria (SSOE) and the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) as well as on a probing-study. Our results demonstrate that classical stratification criteria explain partially the subjective social position, but also that deprived respondents emphasize their »best« criterion in their ratings, whereas wealthy respondents level down their social position. Consequently, most of the Austrians consider themselves belonging to the middle strata of society.

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